Aurigids Meteor Shower

Being the minor meteor shower that occasionally produces stronger displays, Aurigids, formerly known as Alpha Aurigids, will grace the sky by the end of this week. The maximum activity is expected to be on Sunday night, September 1.

During the night of a peak, this meteor shower typically produces only about 5 bright meteors per hour, with an entry velocity of 67 km/sec. However, observers should be able to see more “shooting stars” because of the perfect viewing conditions this year. The peak coincides with the New Moon, which makes the skies ideal for checking out this modest meteor shower.

This shower is not a particularly good one for Southern Hemisphere viewers. According to the American Meteor Society, the Northern Hemisphere will feature higher rates of meteors, because of its radiant (the point from which the meteors appear to originate), which lies in central Auriga, a constellation of the northern sky. Swift meteors will appear to radiate from the area between the bright stars known as Eta and Theta Aurigae.

The best time for watching Aurigids is the last dark hour before dawn when the radiant lies highest in a dark sky. Don't worry about looking directly at the radiant. Bring a blanket and a chaise to avoid neck strain. And remember that binoculars and telescopes will not help: their field of view is too narrow to see the long meteor trails. If you have friends or family along, don’t look at each other while chatting.

Keep your eyes to the skies!

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Image Credit:Vito Technology

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